European Capital of Innovation 2016

In April 2016, the European Commission named Amsterdam the 2016 European Capital of Innovation. With this iCapital award, the Commission praised the way Amsterdam’s innovation ecosystem connects citizens, public organisations, academia and business. The city is using the €950,000 in prize money to scale up and expand its innovation efforts in the fields of mobility, social innovation, the circular economy, startups, healthcare and the sharing economy.

Amsterdam’s history of innovation

The city’s spirit of innovation is rooted in its history. For centuries, diverse groups in Amsterdam have had to work together, for example to ensure that the city remained dry in the face of constant flooding. This has created a society that relies on innovation and cooperation. Mobilising the strength and creativity of different parties and thinking with an open mind have been the driving forces that continue to propel the city forwards today. It is this history of innovation that has allowed Amsterdam to respond so successfully in recent years to the emergence of disruptive technologies.

Cooperating for success

Amsterdam’s bottom-up approach is based on smart growth, startups, liveability and digital innovation. Thanks to the cooperation between companies, research institutes, entrepreneurs and the government, the country has been able to create an environment where innovation can swiftly be created and implemented. And the city itself is a platform for innovation, forming the ideal testbed for new technologies. Amsterdam is ideally suited to this task due to its compact size, extremely diverse population (Amsterdam is home to people from 180 different countries) and its many ground-breaking spaces for collaboration.